Sunday, November 30, 2008
But that time was enough for my lifetime. I avoid that day. Actually, to be totally honest, I avoid as much shopping as possible. If I could get groceries delivered out here, I wouldn’t even do grocery shopping!
But the horrible news that filtered down to me yesterday (okay, I’m slow at hearing the news) about the death at the Wal-Mart back east was horrifying. What kind of people are we that we would trample someone just to get a bargain?
I read a blog with hundreds of comments on this tragedy. Many blamed Wal-Mart for the problem. Many blamed the shoppers - “but not me! I wouldn’t do that! I wasn’t there!” Many blamed the economy – “we need to take advantage of the sales because our finances are so shaky.” Some even blamed the man for “being in the way.”
I was watching the news on Thursday (yes, I watch it once in a while) and the Cities had the sales that the rest of the nation did. There were lines outside many of the stores. A man that was interviewed said he had been in line since seven am that morning for a midnight opening. But he did admit that his friends who were NOT there had “a real life.”
If our economy is so bad, why do we buy “things?” If I’m worried about my job, my health insurance, my house payment, the food on my table, is buying a new electronic toy on sale what I need to do?
Yes, I will admit that I am one of those that love to buy toys. I have more than I need (according, especially, to my mother) and could probably pay more bills if I didn’t buy so much.
But in my defense, I only spend MY money. The money I make at events, the money from the State Fair, and the money from my writing. And I only spend a certain amount a month – I DO have a limit of what I will spend. And what I buy, I use! (Or play with, often.) And I do not go shopping in stores on busy days for these items. Most of what I get, I get on-line. I am willing to pay the shipping (or find free shipping) rather than drive somewhere and spend time and gas money (which would probably be more than shipping) to buy what I want or “need.”
Am I the kind of person that would trample another in the need to get something cheap? Are you? I pray that neither you nor I were the ones that trampled this poor man and the others that got in their way.
I witness crowd mania while in college. Teddy Kennedy came to speak on Bobby’s behalf at the college. When he came down the stairs, everyone wanted to touch him! I was caught in the crowd that surged towards Teddy and (although I said I was “above” this action) I got caught up in the feeling and wanted to TOUCH him, too!
So, if I was in a crowd like that, perhaps I would have been caught up and surged forward unknowing, uncaring. I know that once in a crowd like that, the back people will push forward so that the front people have no choice but to go forward or go under. I do not think it was totally the first people through the door that caused the accident. If there are two thousand people behind you, pushing and shoving, could you stop?
Is it the fault of the stores, with their search for the almighty dollar? Is it the fault of the shoppers, in their search for the almighty sales? Who can say?
I feel that it is the fault of all of us. We should all take the blame. In the same circumstances, would we have done differently? Would we (I) have stopped our frenzied shopping to mourn for a fellow human being who died because of our (my) greed? Or would we (I) have continued to attempt to shop, as most did (so I read), complaining about the store closing because we (I) deserve it?
Who is to say? Let us pray that some good will come from this and it doesn’t happen again. Let’s all, stores managers and owners, shoppers and non-shoppers, take time to think and see if something can be changed.
America should NOT be like this – in search of bargains at the cost of human dignity and life. America must come to its (our) senses and change for the better. All of us!
Saturday, November 29, 2008
The turkey was not only beautiful to behold, it was a pleasure and joy to eat! Cookie brought some lovely sweet wine to add to the meal; it was not hard to drink two glasses (which is my limit!).
After dinner, Cookie and I went into the living room to rest while Candy picked up (refused help, which I honestly DID offer!) and the boys and Binni played cribbage. I cuddled down in the recliner with Cricket and started to knit, but didn’t make it very far. When I woke up, it was because Cricket jumped off my lap to go have supper. Everyone insisted that I had been sleeping for over two hours, but I doubt it! I think that it was less than an hour – maybe only about half an hour, but it WAS dark when I woke up and it wasn’t when I went to sleep!
So, we had pie (they waited for me, thankfully) and then we four girls played “Taboo” and the boys played another couple of hands of cribbage.
Candy sent home a lot of leftover turkey, so we had hot turkey sandwiches for supper last night (yummmmm!).
Now, this morning, Norm went out hunting, as it’s “black powder” season. I said he could hunt in our grove (I haven’t let him, before), as we know there are quite a few deer, including young bucks, sleeping there nearly every night. His “bird dog,” Jody, joined him. She walked from north to south and he sat on the southwest corner, but they didn’t see anything. I feel they were both too late going out this morning. Oh, well, another day he’ll try again. I don’t “approve” of hunting, except in the case of planning to put the meat in the freezer (or to can it). And I don’t like Norm hunting in our grove, but we do need the meat!
Okay, so since I did not get a cool Thanksgiving picture this year, I thought I’d put one on from my memory bank. This was in 1968. Any clue as to who these three girls are? (This actually is for family, ‘cause I’m sure my millions of fans wouldn’t know!)
It’s a beautiful day, even though there is no sun, it’s almost forty degrees out and very little wind. You have a beautiful day!
Thursday, November 27, 2008
To all my friends who do not celebrate our Thanksgiving on THIS day, I would like to wish you a wonderful fall. May your day be filled with love and happiness.
And may everyone have a beautiful day!
Monday, November 24, 2008
You lay your garlic (no more than 3 pieces at a time) on the rubber tool, and then roll them around with the palm of your hand. It zips the paper shell off and leaves a nice, shiny clove of garlic. I then took the cleaned, skinned garlic and chopped it up in the food processor, so nice and easy. My other processor is just a small one cup one, so I could only do a few cloves at a time. This way, I can do a whole bunch – about 2 pounds will be done when I finish.
I used my new discovery, cupcake papers, in a muffin tin to freeze the garlic, and then put the “cupcakes” into a separate bag that I vacuumed to help keep fresh. Now I will have garlic all winter without the worry of it going old and hard or having to take time to chop it up when I need it (and I do not chop very well, anyway).
If you don’t have a garlic peeler, then you should get one. It’s fantastic, whether you freeze a bunch like I do, or just chop what you need, like Candy does. (But then, she’s a better garlic chopper than I am.)
While I was inside, enjoying the warmth of the house, Norm and Wayne were outside, putting his wall and door up on his shop.
Then we had surprise visitors …. LeAnn and Art, our neighbors to the east, stopped by to see what the boys were doing, so we sat inside and had instant cappuccino and cookies that Norm had brought home from church. LeAnn is sister to Wayne’s very close friend, LaVerne.
And on a side note, I didn’t see anything about Kennedy’s assassination on the 22nd, did you?
And, on another note, today (45 years ago), Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who shot Kennedy.
It’s a beautiful day, today. Sun is shining, very little wind and almost 40º. You have a beautiful day!
Bill breeds and shows his llamas and also has several for sale. If any of you in the area (or even further out) want some for guard animals, pets or fiber, be sure to contact him for animals and prices.
He has prize winning miniature llamas; they are much smaller and easier to handle (and cuter) than the bigger models. His pride and glory at this time is Wendy Darling. And rightfully so, as she is a real darling and a beautiful specimen. I was fortunate to see her at a very young age and take her picture (that's MY picture on his blog, by the way) and was also allowed to name her and her partner, Peter Pan. I believe that Bill will write about Wendy Darling's prizes in the near future.
Bill was one of my first friends that I made after we moved down here. He has been very generous with his time in teaching me (and Candy, too) about llamas. Unfortunately, neither of us is able to put a llama or two at our homes, but we can go over and see them any time we want.
I treasure Bill's friendship and hope you can get to know him through his blog. He and wife Shirley are wonderful people; a joy to know and it is a great honor to have them call me a friend.
Go visit him!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
My mother and father remember where they were when the Pearl Harbor attack happened. I don’t remember that – I wasn’t here yet.
But I DO remember when Kennedy was assassinated. I was in college (yes, dears, I’m THAT old!), just finishing lunch on a Friday, and was sitting with friends in the lounge of the Commons Building, waiting for my next class. The receptionist was playing some music over the loudspeaker.
Then the music stopped and she turned the radio on; as we listened in disbelief, the announcer said that Kennedy had been shot and had just been rushed to the hospital; there was no information about whether he was alive or dying or even dead.
My next class was World History with a professor who prided himself on public speaking as well as his information of current events. He had the radio playing so we could hear the announcement of Kennedy’s death.
The professor said something that I am sure was momentous that we should remember to our graves, but I was crying so hard I didn’t register anything he said except “class dismissed.”
We had no classes for the rest of the day and so sat around the radios, listening. Some lucky enough to have access to TV were able to watch the news. But all of my friends and I got to a TV for the funeral.
This was also just a week before Thanksgiving, so everyone’s Thanksgiving that year was subdued, quiet and sad.
Norm was in the Army, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was in the mess hall, having lunch. He was put on alert, as all military bases were. Because the president had been assassinated, there was a possibility that it was a planned take-over of the government by some unknown powers or countries.
Many history books and many political people have differing opinions about how Kennedy ran his office and whether he was a great president or not, but he was MY president! He was the first one I was allowed to vote for. He was the president of my young adult years. He also was the first president in many, MANY years to be assassinated, so for us “moderns,” he WAS the first.
So on this day, I will take time to think of this great man and what he meant to me and to the country. Perhaps this is a time to think of other important dates in American History that we should all pause and say a brief prayer. Perhaps a prayer of thanksgiving that even though such terrible crimes do happen, this great country of ours still thrives, still grows, still goes on.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This is Far Side from Fifty.
She is from Minnesota and is also a Connie - how cool to meet someone with the same name.
I have another friend who's name is Connie, as well. When I call her and get her answering machine, I always say "This is Connie for Connie." Sounds confusing, but fun to say.
So, Connie, this is Connie saying, welcome! I enjoy your blog and I'm putting you on my favorite list.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Lunch was at Panera, a lovely bakery and lunch counter. I had French Onion Soup and a Smoked Turkey sandwich; Candy had the same soup and a sandwich with spinach and artichokes (ewwww! Are we really related?); Jody had bagels with honey and walnut cream cheese.
I was telling Candy about using my brand new KitchenAid three-cup food processor. “You just used it for the first time yesterday?” says she. Say I, “I’ve been gone, you know, and I want to use it for garlic and don’t have any – yet.”
So, here I am telling her that I took cooked liver (boiled in water with garlic powder), a carrot, a potato and an apple and chopped them all up, then mixed them with yogurt for binding.
Jody leaned over and whispered “For Peanut!” And Candy’s faced cleared.
Now, Candy, do you actually think I would fix something like that for me, with liver? Ewwww, liver! That is one way the two of us are the same.
Candy leaned to Jody and said, “She spent a hundred dollars for a machine to chop liver for her dog???”
Actually, the food processor only cost about thirty dollars, as it is a small one and, no, it’s not just for Peanut. However, that was what was on my mind at the time.
Now I have gotten two pounds of garlic to chop and freeze as well as five pounds of onions to do the same (well almost all the onions). Makes it much easier to cook when you can just grab a few chopped garlic bulbs or onions rather than having to chop them up as I go.
Then Candy told me that she and niece Cookie made pie crusts in her new bigger KitchenAid food processor to make pie crusts. Cool! And maybe I could make noodle dough with it, as well? Hmmmm.
However, back to the liver, etc that I made for Peanut. While in Washington with Jill and Eric, I saw Jill take a hunk of meat out of the freezer for Remy. She buys commercial meat made for dogs with vitamins, vegetables, fruit, and other good stuff to supplement his food. Remy has allergies so has to eat grainless meals; the vet said this would help put oils into his body and some good things that could be missing in the dry dog food.
I decided that perhaps Peanut would appreciate this extra once a week, so mixed up my own concoction. I mixed it up, put it in the freezer and called Peanut to eat the leftover. She came running when I called, didn’t even SNIFF the bowl but INHALED what was there for her.
Jody asked for the recipe so here it is, to the best of my knowledge. If you wish to make something like this for your dog, you can put in anything you want.
I boiled about a pound of beef liver with a sprinkling of garlic powder. When it was cooked and cool, I cut it up into pieces to fit in my handy-dandy new food processor and chopped it until it was in shredded, tiny pieces. I then chopped up a carrot – washed but not peeled, with the ends cut off. I chopped up a medium potato, not peeled but washed and eyes and bad spots cut out. I cored an apple, small, washed but not peeled and chopped that up. I put it all together and mixed it with some plain yogurt for a binder.
Next time I might have some flax seeds or flax seed oil (open some of Norm’s pills) or even buy some powdered flax seed (saw some in the store today) to add that Omega Three that is supposed to be so good. I could put broccoli in, as well.
Then, the brilliant (to me) part. I took cupcake papers, put them in a muffin tin and put about a quarter cup of the mix in each paper and froze it. Then it went into bags. Once a week, I will take a “cupcake” out, thaw it out and feed it to Peanut. I already know she approves of it. I figured once a week, a quarter of a cup would not be too much but be a nice treat.
Remy also gets “pupsicles” – Jill makes yogurt and peanut butter cups, freezes them in dixie cups and gives one to him every once in awhile. He loves to lick them, frozen, and doesn’t even eat the paper. So I made some – I have some organic peanut butter and plain yogurt. I put about a quarter cup of that in cupcake papers and froze them, as well. I will rip the paper off of them and put them in her special treat bowl; we’ll see if she likes them frozen or if she waits until they thaw to eat.
So, two new treats for Peanut and a nice use for my new handy-dandy food processor.
However (Candy, are you listening?), tonight I used the food processor for something else. I purchased some Romano cheese at Sam’s. I cut it up into several pieces, food-savered three pieces and put one piece into the chopper. I ran it until the cheese was pulverized and just about as fine as the dried Parmesan cheese (that comes in the green cardboard boxes for pasta dishes). It should work and taste even better!
It was a great girls’ day out – lots of shopping (food, not the fun yarn and fiber stuff), but with great company.You have a beautiful day!
Go here for more details on the history of address, itself. And pay attention to the words!
November 19, 1863
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I thought I would share with you some of the pictures that Joy took while there. She says the movie, "Seven Pounds" was good and everyone should go see it. The girls got autographs and spoke to Will and Rosario Dawson before the movie.
Here are MY two beautiful movie stars!
And the other two movie stars
Monday, November 17, 2008
The rules of this Meme are:1. Link to the person who tagged you.2. Post the rules on your blog.3. Write six random things about yourself.4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
Thing #1 – I own a harp but cannot play very well, and don’t play very often.
Thing #2 – I hate cold but love snow (to look at). It feels colder when there is no snow.
Thing #3 – I am lazy! Bone-deep lazy. I will work hard to find an easy way to do anything!
Thing #4 – I love to travel but I hate to leave home.
Thing #5 – I don’t spin or weave as much as people think – I spend way too much time on the computer.
Thing #6 – I am shrinking! Yes, boys and girls, I have lost a whole inch of my body (such as it is) in the last five years!
Now, for those of you that I chose to tag. I will copy City Mouse and go all over the nation (and world).
Linda from Australia (Remote Tree Changer)
Fran from Scotland (Maid My Own)
Tammie from Ohio (Unusually Unusual Farmchick)
Candy from New York (Country Life)
Chris from Brazil (Country Patch)
Jody from Minnesota (Good Shepherd Farm)
It’s a beautiful day today – sunshine and warmish weather. You have a beautiful day!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I will put more on later - I don't want to clog up your computer!
It's a beautiful sunny but cold day. You have a beautiful day.
Friday, November 14, 2008
As far as the Amtrak ride, it’s definitely worth the extra money to ride in a sleeper. As I mentioned, we took the deluxe room this time, with the bathroom (and shower) but we would be almost as comfortable in the economy “roomette;” there is a bathroom (no shower) on the same level as the rooms. And everyone is treated the same, no matter which sleeper room you reserve.
When you figure in the meals (4 of them for our trip, each way) it cuts the cost down. We have room to spread out, privately. I have a lap table and electricity so that I can write this comfortably (and listen to my music – Les Miserables this time). We have wide windows so that we can view almost as much as if we were in the viewing lounge. Norm is stretched out, right now, taking a nap (and I took one this morning).
We would not have to bring blankets – in coach we have to bring blankets or rent from Amtrak. In the sleeper, the blankets and pillows are there (making a little less to carry on and off the train). We were greeted with bottles of water in the room when we got here. There is a coffee machine and fruit juices in the hall that we can have any time of day or night. The thought of a private or semi-private bathroom on the same level is very desirous to me.
When we first came in, our steward brought in champagne for us to drink. He did ask if we were over 21 --- silly man! He makes up our beds when we ask, then puts them away in the morning. Any time we want something, we can page him. If we so desire, we can have our meals in our room – they will deliver.
I love traveling by train. The worst part is no Peanut. The train system will take no dogs unless they are service dogs. Can I teach her to become a service dog for me and become official so I can bring her along? I do miss her a lot, but I also feel badly that I need to depend on my sister and brother-in-law to care for her when we are gone. After all, she is like another child and I shouldn’t separate her from me just for my pleasure, right?
As far as Seattle and that area – it’s a wonderful place. They are very green-minded – much more than Minnesota; our state prides itself on being “green” but doesn’t really do anything to merit that claim. I was talking to someone at breakfast this morning and she said that Washington is very fussy about new buildings – you can’t cut down certain trees and you have to fit in with all codes and rules that Washington has to fit being “green.”
I like the idea of not having snow or sleet (we have had snow at home while we have been gone and I am not really looking forward to coming back to it). But there are way too many people for me. I like my peace and quiet with few people, no trains, no planes and very few cars. I like going shopping at our small grocery store and recognizing people and being recognized.
But then, Jill’s bonsai that we got her for her birthday could not survive outside at home; the gardens that we missed seeing were outside – imagine bonsai plants growing outside all year round!!!
Jill enjoys not having to scrap ice off the windshield when she gets ready to drive her car. She has a medium weight winter coat that she wears most of the winter. We are heading home and I’m hoping that the winter coat I have is going to be warm enough for getting into the car when we get off the train.
Seattle has a lot more to offer than even Minneapolis (sorry, Minnesotans!). Especially seafood and fresh fruits and vegetables. When Eric bought the crab for us the other night, he fussed at the $11 a pound for King Crab!!!! I have NEVER even bought Snow Crab because the price is too expensive. When we went to the Fish Market, Jill got some “Grapples” – apples that have been crossed with grapes and have the apple texture and grape juice taste (smell like Welch’s grape juice). I got an Asian Pear – I learned about them as a child in Japan – we called them “Pear Apples” because they have a texture of an apple but the taste of a pear. Can’t afford them, on the whole, in Minnesota, even if we can find them. However, steak and other beef products are very expensive in Seattle and cheaper (and better) in Minnesota.
Such a difference between the 2 climates, 2 cultures. Washington has a lot of Orientals and Minnesota has very few. Minnesota has a lot of Mexicans (at least in our area), Washington has few.
I really enjoyed my trip there. People were very friendly. When we were looking for a way to get from where we were parked to the Pike Fish Market, we decided that we would have to do stairs. I would climb slowly and Norm and Eric would carry the empty wheel chair. We had two men stop and say, “Take the elevator! Don’t do the stairs!” They told us the way to the elevator, so we headed there. But missed it. There was another man (as we were starting to take another set of stairs) who led us to the elevator!!!! Blessed men! Thank you to all of them!
We ended up doing a lot of circles, turn-arounds and confusing driving. Jill would write down the directions but would miss the turn or think another way was easier. But then, what is a trip to us without turn-arounds and going in circles? Norm and I have NEVER done a trip without at least one. That way, we got to see different areas of the cities with interesting and beautiful houses.
I love the Sound – I am very happy near the ocean or large bodies of water. I have found that I can be happy nearly anywhere we have settled (as long as I have land to have animals of some kind and no close neighbors) but I feel more “myself” and more expanded around the large bodies of water. For someone who hates to be wet (am I a cat?) unless I am in a shower, bath or am swimming, I don’t object to water, rain, mist or spray when I am close to big water.
But now we are going home. Home is a wonderful place, too! I will have my Peanut – we will cuddle in the recliner with my knee up (finally) and talk about things that have happened while we were separated. I will go see my chickens, have ‘real” eggs to cook for Norm – perhaps make a custard for us for desert this weekend, talk to the sheep and ask them how they survived their first snowfall.
And Saturday is coming, with Prairie Home Companion (have I mentioned I love Saturdays?). I have a plan for another table runner that I need to start and finish before Christmas, so I will need to spend Saturday warping that to see if it will work (of COURSE it will work).
Thank you for joining us on our trip. I promise that pictures will come in just a few days – once I organize the more than 250 pictures I have taken since Tuesday evening!!!
It has been a beautiful trip. My beautiful daughter and her wonderfully caring husband made our trip very memorable. You have a beautiful day!
On Sunday, as I said, we went to the wildlife park. Monday was the day we went to the Space Needle. Now, that is an awesome building! It’s about 650 feet to the very tip of the needle. The viewing platform is about 500 feet high. It took us about 43 seconds to go, by elevator, from the bottom to the top.
We stopped on the way and rented another wheelchair for the week so that I didn’t have to walk very far. Jill (who was driving most of the time) dropped Norm and I off at a convenient spot then Eric took the car and parked it while Jill and Norm got the wheelchair set up.
Between the 3 of them, they treated me very well and pushed me all over the place, wherever I wanted to go. I was not “allowed” to walk anywhere unless there were stairs. And they avoided stairs with a passion!
When we got our tickets for the Space Needle, we started to the elevator we were supposed to go to when the ticket attendant called us back. He hadn’t seen that I was with them, in the wheelchair. Because of the chair, we got a discount on my ticket (about 50%) and were taken to a special elevator where I didn’t have to wait as long.
When we were ready to go back down, the elevator attendant took us to the beginning of the line!
At the top, we were able to walk 360º around. They had interactive screens with live action camera and also screens where you could push an icon to see a certain section of the area with information for that area.
After we got down, I thought we would be going to the Pike Fish Market. But No! Eric had a surprise for me! We went to the Science Fiction Museum! What an awesome place THAT was!! It had music, uniforms, masks, weapons, storylines, bunches of stuff! Eric was so excited to surprise me and I enjoyed it thoroughly (thank you, again, Eric!). I finally took control of the wheelchair and rolled myself around – Norm never went where I wanted to go and Eric was having so much fun looking at what he wanted to see. That way I could look at things as long as I wanted and not get anyone impatient to move on to something else.
Then it was time to head home for supper and conversation until bedtime. We took Jill to a “road house” for supper for her birthday, which was the next day.
Each day seemed to work out the same – we had a breakfast, then headed to the place we were going, didn’t eat lunch and were ravenous by suppertime! Although the day we went to the wildlife park we took sandwiches but didn’t eat them until almost 5:00!
Tuesday, I thought we would be going to the fish market, but no … another surprise! We went to a winery – the Chateau St. Michelle. It was a rather short tour, as they were not bottling, yet, but very interesting. We got to taste 3 different wines and I fell in love with a nice sweet desert wine (I love sweets). Eric and Jill got several different wines, we got a bottle of the sweet stuff.
Then headed home for supper (without lunch, again!). Because this was Jill’s birthday, she chose a Sushi bar. This one is very interesting (have I used that word before?); the chefs were in the middle, forming all kinds of sushi and putting the plates on a conveyor belt to go around the room. People sat at bars or in booths and grabbed whatever they wanted to eat. There were, of course, no utensils except chopsticks. I haven’t used them for a long time but had not forgotten how. Norm used his fingers most of the time, but I did get him to try the chopsticks for a little bit. I have always not wanted to try sushi, but was assured that it is not always raw fish! There are cooked things, too. It’s just the way things are cooked, I think.
I never ate anything raw, but I did have pork wontons (special name, can’t remember), battered shrimp, and shrimp that was filleted and put on rice so that it looked like a real shrimp. Now, I like terryaki, but they didn’t have that sauce; the waiter brought me some sauce they use on eels (euwww!) that was very much like terriayki and if I forgot it was for eels, I could use that. Shrimp, rice and that sauce was very good. We had very finely sliced cucumbers in a vinegar / sugar dressing that was good.
I ate too much, even though I thought I’d have to take Eric’s way out. He offered to take me to McDonalds if I didn’t find anything I could eat at the Sushi Bar. Didn’t happen! They also had cream puffs for dessert.
The way this bar works, you pick up the plates you want, stack them in a corner and the waiter comes by and counts plates. The plates are colored coded as to price, running from $1.50 to $4.00 a plate. Because you are eating a little bit at a time, you don’t realize you are full until it’s too late!
When we got home, the kids put out shrimp and crab for an evening snack. The seafood is really cheap, compared to what we pay in Minnesota!
Okay, Beanie’s birthday was over – she is called Beanie because when she was tiny, she was so silly that Norm called her Jilly Bean. It went on to Beans or Beanie. The grand-girls call her Auntie Bean. We moved on to Wednesday, our last day.
Norm and I got up early and packed. We took Eric to an interview with his school counselor about job hunting; while he was there, we planned on visiting a Bonsai (outdoor) garden. However, it was too wet to go, so we grabbed some bungie cords from Home Depot, picked him up, and headed home for lunch.
Eric and Norm packed the car and put the wheelchair on the top with the bungie cords. Even though it was raining, the wheelchair was not that wet; plus we had brought towels along to dry the seat.
NOW we went to the Pike Fish Market. This is the world-famous spot where the vendors through fish across the way. If you want a salmon, someone will pick it up and shout “Salmon going to Minnesota!” and through it to the guy who wraps it. I didn’t get to see it but Norm did (but didn’t have the camera with him).
The market also has vendors of all kinds. Tourist goods, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, other fish stands. We made it only through the top level; there are two levels of vendors. I found what I was looking for to give to Jody for babysitting, again. Jody, come get it quickly so I can show others!
After we finished there, we put the wheelchair back on the top. (I say “we” – I am a good supervisor!) Then headed to the train station to check in. Jill and Eric stayed until they called us to board, and then headed home. Jill claimed she was going to take the wheelchair to work today (Thursday) for fun. It was rented for a week, so she had no hurry getting it back.
When we upgraded from couch to sleeper, I decided to spend the extra and get the deluxe accommodations – with a bathroom (and shower) in the room. We got to our room (upper level) and settled in. The steward came by with champagne for us!!! There were bottles of water sitting in beverage containers waiting for us.
Going by sleeper is more expensive, but it is worth it (I speak with one night under my belt). We get 4 meals (and the dinner last night was steak!) and even a wine and cheese tasting event this afternoon. Our steward came by last night after our movie (I borrowed Seabiscuit from Jill and put it on the computer) to make the bed. In the deluxe suit, the bottom bed opens into a double bed, so we didn’t use the upper bunk.
It was pretty comfortable sleeping last night. I had a restless night only because of the noise of the train and the rocking motion. It will take some time to get use to that. However, there is a full moon and when the clouds were scattered, I could see some of the mountains and scenery.
This morning we got dressed and went to breakfast, then had the steward put the bed up for sitting as a lounge. I am now sitting on the chair with the tray down to hold the computer – I am listening to Beethoven’s 5th, which is a fitting piece of music to have for the scenery we are watching. As I am writing, we have just passed the Continental Divide, which is about 5200 feet high, so we are now heading down the mountain. The Rocky Mountains are awesome! We have had some sun but not much. It is snowing right now, so the pictures I am taking have drops of water from the window in them.
We will head down to the plains of Montana, which are not quite as awesome, but still pretty.
We have had, besides our meals (which are wonderful in themselves) a wine tasting fun event. We had cheese, crackers and wine. The wine steward (called himself King Louie and I will not dispute that – he knows a lot about wine) would talk about the wines (we had four) and what cheeses to eat with them. At the end of the tasting, we had a trivia contest and the winners got a bottle of wine, as the staff doesn’t like throwing away good wine. We had 2 passengers at the table with me and I’ve forgotten their names already (sorry, guys!) because of the flush of wine in my system. One was a man who lives in Rochester, MN and travels with his father (or father-in-law) when he wants to travel from one place to the other. He and Norm have a lot in common in their coffee tastes. The other was a lovely young woman who lives in Seattle and was traveling to Chicago to visit relatives. We all agreed that the sleeping cars is the ONLY way to go. The gal said “Yes, it’s more expensive, but it’s a vacation onto itself!” I agree.
Of all the people we have shared a table with for meals, they were the most delightful.
I will post this when we get home, Friday morning, then put the pictures on later – the slide show I use sometimes takes a long time to get organized, depending on the amount of pictures I have, and there are A LOT!!!
It is a beautiful snowy day right now; the visibility is rather poor, most of the time, but still fun to watch. You have a beautiful day!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Until then, here are a few pictures that will show you some of the places we've been.
I hope you all spent a little bit of time, yesterday, thinking about about the men and women who sacrificed for our great country. No matter what you think of war, all of you (and me) must remember those who gave their lives, their time, their families to keep us safe and free. My father, my brother and my husband all served their time and I am grateful they all came back.
It's a rainy day here in the Seattle area but beautiful, non-the-less. You have a beautiful day!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I am making sausage and biscuits for her breakfast birthday. We took her out to a cool "Road House" place for supper last night and her gift is coming (hopefully today).
She was born about 6:00 at night on a day that allowed me to watch TV in the hospital and watch Princess Anne (anyone remember her?) marry her true love.
This was in Tumut, NSW, Australia, while we lived there for 5 years. An interesting time. The hospital experience was very different than the one for Joy. This time of the year in Australia is Spring time, so it's starting to get warmer. I was in the hospital for 7 days - mostly because I had a child at home and the doctor wanted me to stay and rest before going home to family responsibilities.
This was the time that I learned a lot of Australian food tastes, as the meals in the hospital could have rivaled a restaurant for quality.
I also almost lost Jill one day - the nurses would bring the babies to the mothers from the nursery and one day they brought the wrong baby to me. She LOOKED like Jill, but didn't ... something was wrong! So I got out of bed and took the baby back towards the nursery, only to meet her mommy bringing MY baby to me -- they got mixed up because they looked so much alike and the nurses had not looked at the wrist bands closely enough. Whew! What would have happened if we hadn't realized it and had taken the wrong babies home? I shudder to think!
I do not have a baby picture with me (the archives are saved on my external drive at home) so I will have to show you one sometime later.
Happy Birthday, baby! I love you ..... you have brought sunshine into my life!
Monday, November 10, 2008
Let’s start with yesterday (Saturday). We had a nice quiet morning with breakfast and computer work and visiting. Then we (Jill, Norm, Remy and I) went to see Puget Sound. Eric stayed home and did more computer work.
Puget Sound is the body of water that comes inland from the Pacific Ocean and wraps around nearly the whole western part of Washington. I remember visiting my uncle when I was in high school and my cousins taught me how to ski – my dad still brags that I ski-ied on Puget Sound! (It was my first and last time, I tell you!)
So, we went to one area and wandered around the beach, walked on the pier and let Remy run a bit.
Last night we got hamburgers from a great hamburger shop, as we were too tired to cook or go out.
Then Eric and Jill taught me how to play “Spore,” a game about staring a creature from a one-cell animal and growing it up to be intelligent, making tribes, conquering planets and traveling in space.
This morning, Jill and I packed sandwiches, chips and pop and all of us but Remy headed out to who-knew-where. Well, Jill and Eric knew.
We ended up stopping at Northwest Trek, which is a wildlife park. Norm rented a wheelchair for me, as the trails are pretty steep and pretty long. We first of all rode on the trolley around the park to see all the grazing animals that were willing to show their faces (and other body parts) to us. The park is FOR the animals and we had to give way to several who were on the trail.
We rented a wheelchair for me, as the trail was pretty long and steep, up and down. There was a trolley so that guests could get very close to the animals. The grazing animals wandered anywhere they wanted to and the trolley drivers pointed out who was available to be seen. All of the pictures of the grazing animals were through big windows, but they were pretty clean so there are not too many smudges to look through.
They have: Moose, Elk, Blacktail Deer, Mountain Goats, Big-Horn Sheep and Buffalo, as well as Canadian and Cackling Geese.
The predators were in separate pens that had chain link fence around them but were large enough for the animals to feel free. They were: Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Coyotes, Wolves, Lynx, Bobcats and Cougars. Some were sleeping in hidden areas but we got to see many of them.
The birds were in mesh pens. We saw: Eagles (Bald and Golden), Barn Owls, Snowy Owl and Great Horned Owls.
It was a wonderfully wonderful day (yes, I am repeating myself!). Now for the moose comment - the park has five moose (meeses? mooses?) Our trolley guide, after we saw them all said “A five moose day! WhoooHooo!” I guess that doesn’t happen often.
The day was overcast and drizzly and chilly (I almost put my gloves on), which helped in viewing the animals, as they are more active in this kind of weather.
Thank you, Jill and Eric, for planning this wonderful day! Thank you, Eric, for doing the majority of the pushing of the chair. A lot of it was steep uphill, which made it pretty tough, I’m sure!
It was a beautiful day! You have a beautiful day.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Then we went to “bed” about 6:30 because it was dark outside and neither of us felt like reading and I didn’t feel like knitting. Norm took one set of two seats and I took the other two, across the isle from him. We had brought fleece blankets from home to keep warm (they would rent a blanket to you if you wanted) and pillows – I got three pillows – one for my back, one for cushioning the window and one for my head. Then I stretched out across the two seats with my head against the window. Later on during the night, I lay down and curled my legs with two pillows for my head. Then I leaned back with the seat back laid back a bit, like I was in a recliner. I think there were about five different positions I tried, enabling me to sleep about an hour at a time. Well, we did sleep, both of us, a little bit and the night finally ended. Don’t you just hate these long nights when you think the night is almost over and it’s just an hour from the LAST time you checked the clock?
Not that I’m saying the seats are uncomfortable … far from it. They recline, have a leg rest that lifts up so it’s very much like a recliner. But for a little ol’ lady, it ain’t the most comfortable place to spend 33 hours (we were an hour late getting into Seattle).
Once the sun rose enough to be able to see out the window, I was up for the day. But I napped on and off for several hours. We went to have breakfast in the dining car and met a young man who lived in the Seattle area; we discussed the difference between Minnesota and Washington. He has family in Minnesota and was just returning from there. The one thing he mentioned was the quiet and the fresh air.
We went through the mountains that separate East Washington from West Washington. As we started to see the scenery, we could see snow as we climbed up to the top of the mountain – we didn’t see much distant scenery as trees surrounded us, but we did see a river (or several?) – the attendant said the rivers were very, VERY high right now! It was raining so most of my pictures have water spots on them. I couldn’t open the window for pictures, unfortunately.
Then down the mountain – losing the snow but keeping the rain and watching the high rivers. We then got close to the ocean and saw several fishing boats, several islands and lots and lots of water. The train was very, VERY close to the water. I had to stand up and look down to see the rocks holding the tracks. We went very slowly a lot of the time; the conductor said we were following a freight train. But when we got into Seattle, Eric said they had announced there was some flooding on the tracks that slowed us down. We were about an hour late when we FINALLY reached our destination.
The first thing I did, after giving Eric a big hug, was to go and upgrade our return trip to a sleeper car!!!! What a relief!
We got our bags collected and headed out to pick Jill up for lunch at a local pizza place (yummy!), took her back to work, then went home for some rest before collecting her after work.
For supper we went to McGrath’s Fish Place for great food! I had my first (and probably last) oyster; they ordered oyster “sliders:” These are raw oysters in a shot glass with cocktail sauce in the bottom. You squeeze lemon juice on it, hold up the shot glass to your lips, take a BIG gulp (holding your Dr. Pepper in your right hand in case you need it) and throw it down your throat. I made it!!!! It was slimy with a little bit of graininess on an edge, but it got down.
I also tasted seared ahi tuna – semi raw tuna with very hot Washabi mustard. I had one piece (without the mustard, thank you very much!) and it’s something that I don’t need to have again!
However (however!), my scallop and prawn skewers were awesome!! Grilled on kabob sticks with fresh vegetables and with a small bowl of melted butter. Everyone had a great meal, according to his or her taste. Eric had fried Creole oysters; Jill had trout and Dungeness crab; Norm had red snapper We were so full that even thinking of desert was painful!
Got home to discuss the differences between High Definition TV and regular TV. Since I am “legally blind” in my left eye, I have a difficult time seeing anything in perspective so it took a while to figure out the difference, but now I can see it. Eric has a big flat screen TV and I can see the colors are brighter and the lettering is sharper and easier to read.
Then to bed. And I will write about Saturday later on. It was a beautiful day in Seattle yesterday. We had a little bit of rain but not much. The sun has been shining most of the day today, and it’s been a beautiful day today. You have a beautiful day.
Oh!!! I was mistaken. The tracks were not along the ocean but the Sound. Puget sound is so huge that it goes all over the place!!
And again, click on the slideshow to see the pictures in a larger frame.
Friday, November 07, 2008
So, I found a spot in the downstairs lounge. This is where you can get snacks and sandwiches, beer, wine, pop, tea, coffee and a smiling face. Mike is a very nice bartender (as he calls himself) and allowed me to take over a whole table, plug in and be able to type away. Right now we are at Havre, Montana and Norm is outside taking a walk in the fresh air. I chose, because of my knee, to stay down here and write to you.
The trip started out by leaving Peanut with Candy and Wayne at 8:00 last night. It was harder on me (and on Norm) to leave her. She was with her all-time favorite person, Wayne, because HE gives her treats!
We drove west, in rain and wind, until we entered South Dakota, where the wind, being from the south, was easier to handle. We had allowed sufficient time to make it to Fargo by 2:30 am so stopped at every rest stop to walk and stretch. We stopped at the first rest stop in North Dakota and took a 30-minute nap. Well, Norm did. I don’t know what was worse, the diesel truck next to us that was running it’s engine (at 48º, mind you – very mild!) or Mr. I-Don’t-Snore, snorkeling away right beside me. Then headed on to Fargo. The route from I-29 on to the Amtrak station was very straightforward. We DID go by the station – there was just a very small sign on the side of the building that is easy to miss.
But then, what is a trip for us if we don’t make at least 1 turn-around, looking for something or someone?
Got there in plenty of time – in fact, just as the eastbound train arrived, so the stationmaster was outside getting baggage out of the train and loading people on. So we had to wait to check in. And all my worries and fretting (to myself) about something being wrong with the reservations was for naught. I gave him my name, he got the tickets out and in less than 5 minutes, we had our baggage checked, the tickets in our hands and nothing else to do but wait. The train was supposed to arrive at 3:30but didn’t show up until about 4:30.
However, it was advantageous to one gal that the train was late. She came just about 10 minutes before the train was supposed to arrive only to find that she didn’t have a reservation. We other passengers spent the next 45 minutes listening to her trying to explain to someone on the other end of the phone that there was no reservation … she needed the name of the person that had reserved the tickets or the credit card number. They, on the other line, were confused and couldn’t find anyone who would have made the transaction. Finally they found someone who had the credit card and just 10 minutes before the train actually DID show up, the stationmaster found the tickets --- made out for the day before! Whew!!! I’m so glad it wasn’t ME!
Once the train came, we climbed up to the second level of the train and found seats, then settled in for the morning. I texted Jill and Candy to let them know we were on the train and moving, then covered up with a blanket and tried to sleep. Oh! Yes, Jody, there WAS a conductor (actually, 2 – a head one and an assistant) who took our tickets and told us where to go on the train. And when it was time to go, he DID shout “All ABOOOOARD!!”
I woke up at 6:30 and watched the night get lighter – no sunrise to speak of. And when it got light enough, I could see that it was snowing! By Williston, there were about 4 inches of snow. I texted to let people know we had snow and got a message back from Cookie to tell me that Deadwood, South Dakota, had 36” of snow already!
We went to the dining car for breakfast and sat with a couple that was heading home. They had picked up the train from Oregon to Vancouver, rode on the Canadian line and down to Washington DC, stopped at Massachusetts to visit family and were heading back home to Oregon. What an exciting trip that was! They told Norm and I that they used to ride coach, but now use the sleeper cars. (And I just heard the announcement that sleeper car passengers were invited to the dining car for wine and cheese – another plus for riding the sleeper!)
Norm said, first thing after he woke up, that we needed to go sleeper on the way back. We will see if we can rearrange better for sleeping tonight in the chairs – both of us have napped today and not been so uncomfortable as we first were this morning.
I have gotten quite friendly with Mike, the bartender, and he promises that if there is an actual sunset this evening, he will show me Venus and Jupiter. So I need to make sure I’m down here for that!
Lunchtime, we ate what I had brought along. Thank you, Jody, for recommending jello and fruit cups. I made a bunch of jello with fruit cocktail and put it in disposable containers. Joy suggested sandwich wraps, which I made, and they were good, too! Apples for an afternoon snack and banana bread – thanks, again, Jody! It’s yummy!
We will have supper in the dining car tonight and then try to be comfortable for tonight’s sleep. If we can split up and have seats across the isle, we would have more room to sprawl.
And now, Jody, I have two people waiting in line for the only electrical hookup around, so I must not be selfish but let others have it. I will continue this next time I get a hookup, or tomorrow at Jill’s.
Oh! There’s sunshine! We MIGHT have a sunset after all!
Now, here's a slide show - and don't forget, you can click on the slideshow to make the pictures bigger, if'n you wish!
I would have written this earlier, but I have been off-line and just got on-line here in Seattle at Jill's. (More later.)
Secondly, I hope you all voted and are content (if you are not happy) with the results.
It is a beautifully beautiful day here in Washington State. You have a beautiful day!
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The lines were horrendously long! It took F*O*R*E*V*R!!!!
Actually, I love our little town. We walked in, were greeting with “The Amo Township is there!” and by the time we got to the table, she had the book opened to our page and was pointing out where I would sign.
When I put my ballot into the box, I was voter number 112!!
Even Peanut got into the act.
And when the sun sets this evening, we should have a new president. May the best man win!!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Back in the “old” days when we lived in South Dakota, I made my dressing (stuffing) the old-fashioned, real way – dried bread cubes and baking with the chicken, turkey, rabbit, whatever. When I moved to Minnesota, a friend tried to convince me that the “only” way to fix stuffing was to use the stove-top boxed dressing. Well, foolishly, I listened to her and got addicted to stove-top.
However, Jill developed an allergic reaction to celery (and that’s another story) and I discovered that not only did the stove-top seasonings have celery seed or dried celery in it but the packages of dried bread that you could purchase had celery in the seasonings so I had to go back to the “old-fashioned” way of collecting my own dried bread cubes and making dressing (stuffing) the real way.
But lately, Joy has taken to making stove-top (when Jill’s not around) with the crockpot. I love how it comes out! Tender, moist and you can make it for anything, not just roasted fowl (no longer rabbit!). So I tried it myself, but using my own bread and seasonings. Works great. But last night I forgot about the dressing (stuffing) until too late to put it in the crock pot, so I made it myself on the top of the stove. I threw some dehydrated onions into the pot with water and powdered chicken broth from the natural food store, a little bit of pepper and some butter. Then popped in the thawed out bread cubes and stirred. I cooked them on a low heat for about 10 minutes, then let them sit while the rest of the meal finished. They were GOOD, if I don’t say so myself. But Norm said it for me. This is GOOD! I always think of Jill when I make dressing (stuffing) because of the celery thing.
I was going to make plain mashed potatoes, but decided to dig out my garlic roaster and roasted some garlic in the toaster oven just before I put the game hens in.
I thought of Jill for the potatoes, too, because she taught me how to make them one holiday when everyone was here. The roasted garlic, butter, seasonings and milk are warmed up (cream is better, but I didn’t have any) and the cooked, hot potatoes are put back in and smashed to smithereens. Yummy in my tummy! Thank you, Jill!
The game hens were cut in half and put in two small glass bread / baking pans. My new toaster oven is not as deep inside so I can’t get tall things in and the game hen did not fit as a whole bird. I then rubbed olive oil on the two halves and sprinkled salt and pepper on the skins. Roasted for about 25 minutes at 450º, then put on a liquid – chicken broth, wine and oil – to baste and baked for another 25 minutes. Again, yummy!
Now, my question is this, today: why is the dressing (stuffing) called different things in different parts of the country? I was raised calling it dressing but if I mention dressing to people they look confused. So I have started to call it stuffing but then my family looks confused. Of course, I COULD call it was it was called back in the really, REALLY old days – 1700s and 1800s (and probably before that). They called it “forced meat” – probably because you forced it into the cavity of the bird to cook it.
Friday was Halloween and we went to Cookie’s house for a party. It was just family with Binni having school friends over to go trick-or-treating and spend the night. One of the girls had her older brother go along for “protection.”
We had sloppy joes (again, a word confusion – I was raised calling them “steamburgers”) an the fixings for that. Good conversation and good company. Then home again.
Cookie only had one group come to trick or treat, which was a disappointment but she lives in an adult area with a lot of park space between her townhouses and the younger crowd’s homes, so really didn’t expect many. Plus, there were parties and trick-or-treating at the mall. Gone are the days when parents would drive children to other areas to knock on doors.
Candy and I were reminiscing about our dad and the shows he put on. We would have parents bring children from across town to see his displays. I was telling them of the time when I frightened a group of teenage boys. They were so smart and not scared, then I frightened them, they ran around the back of the house, where my brother was waiting to scare them from that area. How people love to be frightened on Halloween!
It is a beautiful November morning. Did you remember to change your clocks? It is sunny, already 49º and not very windy. You have a beautiful day!